Sunday, March 12, 2006

Googleproof and true smarts

The Guardian discusses the hardest quiz in the world, the King William's College Quiz. It is googleproof, or nearly so: that perhaps is its main virtue these days. Sometimes as knowledge becomes more accessible it becomes less interesting. Who wouldn't want to be the intellectual James-Bond-like character who could answer "Who, in 1904, made a postmortem journey from Badenweiler to the Novodeviche Monastery?" or "Who was the albino Vicar of Altarnum?" without resorting to google? You can't learn these things: you can only live a rich life and pick them up en passant while your real goal is living. Of course, the true value in these things is what you do with them: make connections that draw together life into a web of connected observation and understanding.

Interesting: will googlepopularity one day be the judge of spelling? I typically spell and pronounce the word as "mischievious" on first try. I am told that I am outnumbered 9,118,000 to 315,000 on the web, but my star is rising as I have checked this stat over the years. But en passant only outpolls en passante by a little, despite the clear atrocity of the latter.


Blogger Hildebrand said...

I found both answers on Google - is that a crime? Or does it indicate a superior use of the resources available? Yes - added letters and syllables tend to win out over the original shorter versions practically everywhere. Take the abomination of, "for the sake of auld lang syne." Also epicentre to mean centre, and a thousand others. Shorter versions rarely catch on. I wonder why.

11:31 AM  

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